Reducing household carbon footprint helps fight climate change

July 2nd, 2008 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 2 (IANS) Like charity, the battle against global warming should also begin at home, according to a new study. The study set out to establish that going green, recycling items of daily use and reducing your carbon footprint would be easier if a household’s environmental impact is monitored.

The study, which enlisted 20 families to assess how well sustainable behaviour might be inculcated among householders, compared fuel, electricity, water costs and waste generation and recommended cost-effective steps to reduce consumption.

On average, the team found that even implementing 25 percent of the recommendations cut greenhouse gas by two tonnes for each household.

This quantity of carbon emissions is about the same as one person making an eight hour flight and has an estimated environmental offsetting cost of around $30.

There were wide variations among households, demonstrating the potential to reduce environmental impact through lifestyle changes.

Many individuals concerned over environmental issues are reluctant to go green themselves, because they feel their efforts are too miniscule to change global climate.

“Participants commented that they became much more aware of their energy consumption and environmental impact by taking part in the year-long study and were, as a result, motivated to make changes to their behaviour and physical surroundings,” the researchers said.

The researchers recommended a slew of steps like replacing incandescent with compact fluorescent bulbs, activating energy saving settings on computers, installing ceiling fans, and reducing air-conditioning.

They also suggested several popular heating energy reduction measures including improving the air tightness of the home, insulating foundations, walls and hot water tanks.

Vehicle emissions were reduced by lower vehicle use and using ethanol blended petrol, while water was saved by replacing toilets with low-water models, installing kitchen faucet aerators, reducing sprinkler use and installing rain barrels. All households were already recycling and 90 percent composting before the study began.

The team found that of the 30 such measures they recommended, only 13 were implemented by one out of five or more of the households.

These findings will appear in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management.

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